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Detroit parish plants 44 crosses to remember lives lost in 1967 riot


  • Father Victor Clore and members of Christ the King Parish in northwest Detroit pause for a moment of silence July 22 in front of 44 crosses on the parishƠs front lawn, one for each of the lives lost in the violence of 1967. (CNS photo/Dan Meloy, The Michigan Catholic)
  • Then-Archbishop John Dearden of Detroit talks with troops stationed outside St. Rose of Lima Church on Detroit’s east side as a group of Catholic sisters listens nearby during the 1967 unrest. (CNS photo/Archdiocese of Detroit Archives)
  • National Guard and Army troops from the 82nd Airborne Division stand at attention outside St. Rose of Lima Church on Detroit’s east side during the 1967 Detroit uprising. Fifty years later, the effects of 1967 still loom large as the church and city seek to heal the wounds of the past. (CNS photo/Archdiocese of Detroit Archives)

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DETROIT (CNS) -- The bell tolled 44 times. One time for every name that was read.

They were brothers and sisters, fathers and uncles, young and old. Whether they were "looters" or "bystanders," 50 years later, they were people gone, but not forgotten.

On July 23, Christ the King Parish and others in northwest Detroit commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1967 riot -- some in the community call it the 1967 rebellion.

Whatever semantics people choose, 44 souls were lost in its aftermath. And 50 years later, parishioners -- black and white -- came together to remember the dead.

"Today we're experiencing a deep, lasting look at the reverberations of that hot, July day," the lector read at the beginning of Mass. "As we remember 1967, we need to remember the Mass is a remembrance of Jesus' life, passion and death, but also of His resurrection. We, too, remember in hope the life and resurrection today for all those who were lost."

The Mass featured testimonials from parishioners who lived in the area, recalling their limited perspective on a day that shook the city to its core.

"I grew up on Lothrop, just north of the Boulevard," parishioner Amanda Rajabzadeh said. "My grandma lived five houses off 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue. We attended St. Agnes Parish, which was three blocks from where we lived. Being 10, I remember it being hot. We slept on pallets that night, staying indoors, because all of the shooting going on outside."

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